Going up against one of the most talented teams in the league, the New England Patriots played arguably their best game of the season — celebrating a hard-fought victory over the visiting Baltimore Ravens to improve their record to 4-5 on the year.
Patriots (4-5) 23 : 17 Ravens (6-3)
New England started the game on defense, and gave up a first down on the game’s opening play from scrimmage. However, the unit settled down quickly and was able to get off the field thanks to some perfect coverage from Jason McCourty against Marquise Brown on a 3rd-and-11 pass attempt.
The Patriots’ offense, meanwhile, started with a heavy dose of Damien Harris: the second-year back, who was listed as questionable entering the game, touched the ball on the first five plays of New England’s opening possession, gaining two first downs along the way. While the team eventually faced a 4th-and-1, Cam Newton converted on a sneak to keep the series alive. However, it still ended without points: Newton was sacked on a third down play, forcing the Patriots to send their punting unit onto the field.
Jake Bailey pinned Baltimore at its own 7-yard line, but New England’s defense was unable to take advantage of its solid starting field position: the Ravens, using a healthy mix of runs and short passes over the middle of the field, moved into the Patriots red zone without facing a lot of resistance. They converted a third down on the final play of the first quarter to set up a goal-to-go situation.
It took the Ravens only one play in the second quarter to take the lead on a 6-yard touchdown run by Willie Snead — capping a 13-play series that covered 94 yards and took over eight minutes off the clock. [Patriots 0 : 7 Ravens]
New England’s second drive of the game started with a 19-yard pass from Newton to Jakobi Meyers that also added 15 yards on an illegal contact penalty versus the Ravens defense. The team continued to move the ball well after that big play, with Rex Burkhead and even tight end Ryan Izzo helping bring the offense into the red area. On 1st-and-goal from the Baltimore 7-yard line, Newton and Burkhead continued to tie the game:
The touchdown pass — only the third thrown by Newton this year — capped an impressive 7-play, 75-yard drive. [Patriots 7 : 7 Ravens]
The game did not stay tied for long after New England’s touchdown. The Ravens again moved the ball without much of a problem on their next drive, reaching the Patriots’ red area on a pass from Lamar Jackson to Gus Edwards that turned from a short throw to a 31-yard gain. Once Baltimore reached the red zone, however, the defense stood its ground and forced its opponent to settle for a 24-yard field goal. [Patriots 7 : 10 Ravens]
New England’s offense, on the other hand, continued to look good. With Damien Harris again doing a lot of heavy lifting, the Patriots drove right into the Ravens’ side of the field to at least set up a potential game-tying field goal before the half. However, they got a lot more when offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels called on former college quarterback Jakobi Meyers to advance the football through the power of his right arm:
Meyer’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Rex Burkhead — his first TD on his first ever passing attempt — allowed the Patriots to take a 13-10 lead. However, kicker Nick Folk missed the ensuing extra point attempt. [Patriots 13 : 10 Ravens]
With only a minute left in the first half, New England’s defense delivered its first big play when rookie Josh Uche sacked Lamar Jackson for a 7-yard loss to open the next drive. The takedown did still not prevent Baltimore from again driving into potential scoring range — that was done when Mr. Interception himself, J.C. Jackson came up with his sixth pick of the season:
Pro tip: Don’t test Mr. INT. pic.twitter.com/SDseD6nx55— Pats Pulpit (@patspulpit) November 16, 2020
Jackson’s pick effectively ended the half, with the Patriots up 13-10.
The Patriots ended the second quarter in perfect fashion, and started the third the same way. After Damien Harris gained 16 and 25 yards on back-to-back rushing attempts, Cam Newton found Jakobi Meyers for a 26-yard completion to set up a 1st-and-goal at the Baltimore 4-yard line. New England’s starting quarterback took it upon himself to end the drive after just four plays:
As opposed to his last extra point kick, Nick Folk made this one as well go five New England a 10-point lead. [Patriots 20 : 10 Ravens]
Momentum continued to stay on the Patriots’ side on the following drive. While the Ravens did produce one first down, a terrific open field tackle on Lamar Jackson by Jonathan Jones later set up a 4th-and-1 that ended in disaster for the offense: the direct snap to running back Mark Ingram missed his mark, which allowed New England to take over on downs at the Baltimore 37-yard line.
New England’s offense picked up right where it left off, with the running game dominating and the passing game efficiently moving the football when called upon. Once inside the Ravens’ 10, however, the drive stalled: two short runs were followed by an incomplete pass intended for Jakobi Meyers. Instead of attempting to go for it on fourth down from the 2-yard line, the Patriots sent Folk onto the field to attempt a 20-yard field goal. [Patriots 23 : 10 Ravens]
With the Patriots up 13 points, the Ravens produced their best offensive series since the first quarter — driving right down the field to answer the Patriots’ field goal with a touchdown. The 11-play, 75-yard rally was eventually capped with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Lamar Jackson to Willie Snead. [Patriots 23 : 17 Ravens]
After scoring on each of their last four possessions, the Patriots were unable to add more points to their total early in the final period. Instead, the team went three-and-out for the first time all game — punting the ball back to Baltimore up only six points. However, New England’s defense came through by forcing a three-and-out of its own with a little over 11 minutes to go in the game.
The Patriots’ next offensive drive went a bit better, but the result was still the same: Jake Bailey had to take the field for a third time to punt the football away after New England gained just one first down. Once again, however, Baltimore did not fare any better: the team also was able to move the chains once but another bad snap put Jackson and company behind the chains, eventually leading to another punt.
New England had a chance to run out the clock on the ensuing possession, but the team failed to deliver. While the Patriots ran the clock down to 1:16 and forced Baltimore to take all of its timeouts before Jake Bailey punted the ball away again, the Ravens still had one more chance to drive for a game-winning touchdown in challenging conditions. However, the Patriots defense held one final time — winning the game on a turnover on downs with just two second remaining.